Saturday, 14 February 2015

Getting back into sewing


I graduated and started a full time job in July, yay! However it definitely keeps me busy and I've started having the urge to make something again. I ended up signing up for a beginners sewing class as I'm self-taught and had been struggling with threads getting all knotted up, knowing how to adjust the tension etc.

I went along to a brilliant 3 hour class in October at The Stitching Boutique in Cardiff, using a voucher I'd bought through LivingSocial. Tamsin, the lady who owns and runs the shop, is such a nice lady! She purposely keeps the classes small, I think there were 6 of us, which was brilliant as we were all able to have 1-2-1 time with her if we got stuck on anything.

The class was £30 (down from £55) was for a 3 hour class which taught us to make a cushion, and included the fabric and pillow insert. I opted to upgrade for £10 to some fantastic Roald Dahl polka dot Matilda fabric, which was £10 rather than the usual price of £13.50 per metre by virtue of being in a class, and picked a gorgeous teal blue thread. I didn't even know Roald Dahl fabric existed! It feels beautifully soft and I keep hugging my cushion :D

As we all had a go at cutting out a simple pattern for a 17inch cushion, Tamsin made sure we were all able to thread the machines, pointing out the differences between vertical and top loading bobbin machines (the class machines are shiny, new and top loading, mine loads vertical and is slightly older).

The 3 hours flew by, we had some gorgeous coffee which we all drunk fairly quickly as we were eager to return to sewing. It was really nice chatting to other ladies who were interested in sewing, some also knit so I found out about a new knitting group which meets just down the road that I'd like to try out.

The cushion itself was really easy to sew, so we were encouraged to use decorative stitching however we liked, just to help us keep practising our stitching. We also covered all the different basic stitches on sewing machines, and how to use different feet for different things. One thing I noticed that was quite different on my machine was the sewing seam allowance guidelines on the foot plate - mine is completely blank which is unhelpful! I've bought a magnetic guide online to help me out in future.

Some of the new things I learnt:
- How to cut out fabric using a rotary cutter and cutting mat - genius!!
- How to adjust the tension on a vertical loading bobbin case - something that was worth the £30 for the class alone!
- How to sew buttonholes - will need to practice that one several times again though.
- How to use a buttonhole foot!
- How to spend ages pressing buttons to discover how many different decorative stitches modern sewing machines can do!
- How to finish raw edges using zigzag stitching.

All in all, I had a brilliant time and definitely learnt quite a few new things. It was also really nice to be one of the more confident beginners in the room - and reassuring to know that I haven't been screwing things up too badly!!